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Ediriweera Sarachchandra

Ediriweera Sarachchandra (Sinhala: මහාචාර්ය එදිරිවීර සරච්චන්ද්‍ර) (3 June 1914 – 16 August 1996) was a Sri Lankan playwright, novelist, poet, literary critic, essayist and social commentator.[1] Considered Sri Lanka's premier playwright, he was a senior lecturer at the University of Peradeniya for many years and served as Sri Lankan Ambassador to France (1974–1977).

Ediriweera Sarachchandra
Prof Ediriweera Sarachchandra.jpg
Sri Lankan Ambassador to France
In office
Personal details
Born(1914-06-03)3 June 1914
Galle, Sri Lanka
Died16 August 1996(1996-08-16) (aged 82)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
NationalitySri Lankan
Spouse(s)Ailean (Beleth) Sarachchandra, Lalitha (Swarna Perera) Sarachchandra
ChildrenNanaditha Sarachchandra, Sunethra Sarachchandra, Kisagothami Sarachchandra, Yashodhara Sarachchandra, Ransi Sarachchandra
EducationSt. Aloysius College,
Richmond College (Sri Lanka),
St. John's College,
St. Thomas' College,
University of Colombo,
University of London
AwardsHonorary D. Litt. from the University of Jaffna, Honorary D. Litt. from the University of Peradeniya in addition to the Professor Emeritus

Early educationEdit

Sarachchandra was born on 3 June 1914. He completed his early education at Richmond College in Galle, St. John's College Panadura, S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia and St. Aloysius' College in Galle.

Sarachchandra started his career as a teacher at St. Peter's College in Colombo 4. He then joined the publishing company Lake House in an administrative position. 1933, gained admission to the Ceylon University College and offered Pali, Sanskrit and Sinhala for the first degree and passed out in 1936 with a first class and sat for the Ceylon Civil Service examination (because of his parents insistence) and came first in the island.[1]

In 1939 Sarachchandra wed Aileen Beleth. He subsequently travelled to Santiniketan to study Indian philosophy and Music. Sarachchandra returned to Sri Lanka in 1940 and resumed his teaching career at St. Thomas College in Mt. Lavinia. From 1942 to 1944 he worked on his master's degree in Indian philosophy as an external student of the University of London while holding the position of Sub-Editor of the Sinhala Dictionary.

Sarachchandra returned to the University of Ceylon serving as a lecturer in Pali from 1947 to 1949. He gained entry to the University of London in 1949 to study towards a post graduate degree in Western Philosophy.


Sarachchandra produced his first stylist play Maname in 1956 to widespread acclaim. Maname is generally considered the first real Sinhala drama, signalling the transition from the Nadagam or folk drama to the modern theatrical drama format. It was praised especially for drawing influence from the traditional nadagam play style. He continued as a playwright, developing his play Sinhabahu in 1961, which is widely considered as his best work. Most of his plays were adaptations from Buddhist Jathakas or Sinhala folklore giving his work instant and lasting popularity with the population that identified with their roots.

Awards and honoursEdit

The University of Jaffna and the University of Peradeniya conferred Sarachchandra the degree of Doctor of Literature in 1982. Also in that year he was made an Emeritus Professor at the University of Peradeniya. In 1983 the State of Kerala in South India awarded Sarachchandra the Kumaran Asan World Prize. In 1988 he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Literature.


  • Maname
  • Sinhabāhu
  • Elowa gihin Melowa Āwā
  • Rattaran
  • Pabāvatī
  • Lomahaṃsa
  • Bhavakaḍaturāwa
  • Vessantara
  • Mahasara
  • Kada walalu
  • Pematho jayathi soko
  • Kirimuttiya Gangea Giya – 1985
  • Bahina kalawa
  • mudalalige peraliya



  • Malagiya Eththo (1959)
  • Walmath Wee Hasarak Nudutimi (1962)
  • Malwunge Awrudhuda (1965)
  • Loku Putha Nohoth Bandulage Parawarthaya (1971)
  • Heta Echchara Kaluwara Ne (1975)
  • Wilasiniyakage Premaya (1988)
  • Curfew and a Full Moon (1978)
  • With the begging bowl (1986)
  • Foam Upon the Stream (1987)

Short StoriesEdit

  • Kalayage Awemen (1969)
  • Maya Roopaya (1974)
  • Roopa Sundari (1984)
  • Midiya, Gruhaniya ha Upasikawa (1993)
  • Of a Queen and a Courtesan (1970)
  • The Death of a Friend (1981)

Research, Literary Theory and CriticismEdit

  • Sahithya Vidyawa (1949)
  • Sinhala Nawakatha Ithihasaya ha Wicharaya (1951)
  • Kalpana Lokaya (1958)
  • Natya Gaweshana (1967)
  • Wes Muhunuda Sebe Muhunuda? (1971)
  • Modern Sinhalese Fiction (1943)
  • The Sinhalese Novel (1950)
  • The folk Drama of Ceylon (1952)
  • Buddhist Psychology of Perception (1958)


  • Ape Withthi (1942)
  • Asampurna Charika Satahan (1967)
  • Dharmishta Samajaya (1982)
  • Pin Ethi Sarasawi Waramak Denne (1985)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Chat with Lalith". Sarasaviya. Retrieved 17 November 2017.

External linksEdit